With the current clash between President Trump and Democrat leaders over the funding of a border wall with Mexico, both sides have their favorite arguments. The President focuses on the crime, drugs, and security threats due to thousands of unvetted illegals streaming into this country. Democrats, on the other hand, call the situation on the southern border a “manufactured crisis” and that a wall is either unnecessary or immoral.
I’m on the President’s side and believe that the cost of illegal immigration in terms of crime, medical care, financial handouts, cultural isolation, and an overburdened education system is destroying this nation. But there is another cost that most people have never even considered, and that’s the civic cost.
In a March 28, 2017 article for Defining Ideas: A Hoover Institution Journal, noted historian and author Victor Davis Hanson elucidates the civic cost of illegal immigration. Hanson has a unique perspective, for he is a fourth-generation almond farmer on the family farm near Fresno, California, and has seen the devastating effects of illegal immigration in his own community.
According to Hanson, the key to understanding the civic cost is to focus on citizenship: “In the Western constitutional tradition, citizenship was based upon shared assumptions that were often codified in foundational constitutional documents.” The first pillar of citizenship is that a nation has the right to control its borders. The duty of the government is to defend its citizens within those clearly defined borders. Without such borders, “no consensual society can make rules and laws for its own, enhance and preserve commonalities of language and culture, or raise a military to protect its own self-interest.” When illegal immigrants come in large numbers, assimilation becomes more and more difficult. Soon a nation reverts to tribalism, as each group cares more about its own needs and ignores the needs of the nation as a whole. The Balkans and Rwanda are classic examples.
Another foundation of citizenship is the sanctity of the law. A society cannot function if large numbers of people choose not to obey the laws. Hanson shows the results of unenforced immigration laws:
First, citizens question why all laws are not subject to nullification. If the immigrant is excused from obeying immigration law, is the citizen likewise exempt from IRS statutes or simple traffic laws?
Hanson also points out that illegal immigrants “adopt a mindset that obeying the law is unimportant. Currently among illegal aliens, there is an epidemic of identity theft, forged government affidavits, and the use of fake social security numbers.” In the end, foreign illegals lose respect for citizens because of their failure to enforce the laws of their own country.
A third critical aspect of citizenship is equal application of the law. Illegal entry into America is just the first step of illegality. Other illegal acts follow. Hanson notes that thousands of illegals drive cars without licenses, mandatory insurance, or registrations and yet are seldom arrested for such violations. Citizens, on the other hand, face swift punishment. Hanson gives an example from his own California community:
. . . there are hundreds of dwellings where multiple families in trailers, sheds, and garages reside, employing illegal water, power, and sewage hookups. Most are more or less left alone by county authorities. The apparent rationale is that such violations are too chronic or widespread to be addressed, or that it simply does not pay for cash-strapped agencies to enforce the law in the case of those who are unable or unwilling to pay substantial fines.
However, citizens will be forced to pay fines each time they violate a law, even statutes that are trivial in comparison. When citizens begin to see that there is a two-tiered system of law enforcement, they can easily become cynical about government and realize that being a legal citizen is more of a disadvantage than an advantage.
In a prior related article, Hanson exposes the disdain for law by a top California official:
Last March , California Governor Jerry Brown declared that those who wished existing federal immigration law to be enforced –in the manner that would have saved the late Kate Steinle from five-times deported, seven-times released felon illegal alien—were “at best . . . troglodyte, and at worst . . . un-Christian.” In California, if one assumes that the law as written should be followed, one is dubbed either a cave dweller or an apostate.
Let’s be clear here. Those on the left who try to ignore the effects of illegal immigration have one primary goal: to destroy America as we have known it. Sadly, they already have had some success. They have ruined the education system, made a mockery of marriage, politicized science, denigrated art, elevated perverts to the status of heroes, and corrupted the election process. Now they are very close to eliminating the sovereignty of America. Our future hangs in the balance. Pray for the President and our nation.
THOMAS ADDIS is a retired high school teacher and published author, most recently authoring a children’s book, A Gift of Light, which is available at Amazon. An M.A. graduate of Oakland University, he is Associate Editor of Catholic Journal. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and cycling.